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tv   Capital News Today  CSPAN  July 18, 2011 11:00pm-2:00am EDT

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the nuclear regulatory commission tomorrow will consider a report by a special task force to review nuclear safety and the wake of the japanese disaster. today, the head of the nrc called on his agency to complete consideration of new safety recommendations within 90 days. from the national press club, this is an hour. [inaudible conversations] >> good afternoon and welcome to the national press club. my name is mark hamrick and i'm a broadcast journalist "associated press" and the 104th president of the national press club. where the world's leading professional organization for journalists committed to our profession's future through our programming events such as this well working to foster a free press worldwide. for more information about the national press club i would ask you to visit our web site at and to donate to programs offered to the public
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through our eric friedheim national journalism library. find more information at on behalf of our members worldwide i would like to welcome our speaker as well as those of you who are his guests and those of you attending today's event. our head table does include guess of the speaker as well as working journalists who are club members. if you are a pause in our audience i would like to remind you that we do have members of the general public attending today so it is not necessarily evidence of the lack of journalistic objectivity when you hear that applies. i would also like to welcome our c-span and public radio audiences. our luncheons are also featured in our weekly podcast from the national press club available for free download on itunes. you can follow the action on twitter using the hashtag found in pc land. after guess speech concludes willett q&a in alaska's many as time permits and out is time to introduce her head table guests a wide ask each of you appear to stand briefly as your name is called. from your right we begin with
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steve pedro, the bureau chief at the stevens washington bureau. jennifer de paul is reporter with the fiscal times. media strategist and energy writer with hill and knowlton. michelle cass senior resident inspector with the indian point unit two and guest of our speaker. a reporter with platts. jennifer ewell is deputy director of the office of nuclear regulatory research and a guest of the speaker today. over the podium, melissa charbonneau with news media and our very capable speakers committee chair. we will skip over the speaker for a moment. rod kukro is chief editor with platts member of the press club speakers committee organizing today's event. dan frumkin is team leader with the nrc fire protection branson also a guest of the speaker. ayesha rothko is a reporter with reuters. mike sore hand is a reporter
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with "greenwire" and a member of for national press club award. maria reese seo is washington bureau chief with the fort worth star-telegram and now you can give them a round of applause, please. [applause] before march 11 earthquake and ensuing tsunami triggered disaster at the fukushima daiichi nuclear plant in northern japan, it seemed as if the prospects were looking bright for revival of the nuclear industry in the united states. in fact at a time of deep political and philosophical divide in washington, a rare bipartisan consensus had developed but there was a need to re-examine whether it was time to build new nuclear plants in our country. some politicians like the idea because nuclear unlike coal and natural gas gives off known greenhouse gas emissions in producing electricity and could help address concerns about local warming. some believe it could help lessen the nation dependent on foreign oil also helping to create thousands of jobs.
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other believes the safety of -- nuclear technology since tree mile island and chernobyl have been proven. even the obama administration for a combination of all those reasons is offered billions of dollars in loan guarantees to jumpstart nuclear construction. sense than the exit in japan grab headlines of course over a period of weeks of the damage worsen. radiation was released and the meltdown exposed nuclear fuel on at least one reactor unit. developments but the safety of nuclear technology back in the spotlight and in a public debate about that technology. and with at the it the safety of nuclear power in the united states with which the nuclear regulatory commission is entrusted. just last week the nrc released a preliminary report on the implications of fukushima and the u.s. industry has suggested improvements for safety and plant preparedness. while the industry is concerned about what some of those recommendations might cost financially, some environmental groups did not believe any steps
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can make nuclear power safe enough. so it is with this news backdrop that we are very pleased to have our guest speaker here today. it made two it to thousand nine president obama pointed our guest chairman of the nrc where he had served as commissioner since 2005 with a doctorate in physics. event to navigate the political corridors of power on capitol hill for gophers as a congressional science fellow for congressman ed markey of massachusetts. his next job the one he held before joining the nrc was science adviser to senate majority leader harry reid of nevada. incidentally senator reid said he supports building new plants although he has led the opposition to store waste from those existing its existing and he planted his state at yucca mountain. our guest was born in pennsylvania and grew up in upstate new york and we are pleased to have them here today to address this timely topic. i have to say also i believe he is our first guest speaker who i just now learned has a spouse was a member of the national press club so we are very happy to have that as well.
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please give a warm national press club welcome to nrc chairman, gregory jaczko. [applause] >> i should say after that introduction at least my wife will be happy with whatever i say today. i want to thank you for that introduction. i am very pleased and honored to be here today speaking at this venerable institution. the national press club is really a fan you like no other. it has been the center of washington journalism and news for more than 100 years. as i was doing some research preparing for this and my staff did a little investigation of the press club they noticed that its historic emblem was that of a -- which symbolizes wisdom, awareness and long nights spent on the job. i won't claim wisdom and i will let you judge my sense of awareness, but i can definitely
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relate to the long nights spent sleepless on the job. as chairman of the nuclear regulatory commission, one of the best aspects of my job is having the opportunity to lead a staff of nearly 4000 talented, dedicated public servants. like in a regulatory agency, we hear from all sides and all perspectives about both their own safety record and that of the industry we regulate. we know we can always do better and we always strive to do better. but i have absolute confidence and i believe the american people should as well in the experience, expertise and professionalism of the nrc staff. so today i have brought three excellent representatives with me and i would like to introduce them to you. as you heard michelle katz is someone who has a degree in nuclear engineering and his work for the nrc for eight years.
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she currently serves as one of two senior resident inspectors at the indian point nuclear power plant in new york. as a resident inspector she is the eyes and ears of the nrc. she and her fellow resident inspectors are the front-line staff who conducted the inspections ordered by the agency in the days following the nuclear accident in japan. also with me as dan frumkin who is originally from the d.c. area and has a degree in fire protection engineering from maryland. after working on fire protection programs for two nuclear plants he has worked on improving fire protection and nuclear plants all across the country for the past 11 years at the nrc. this is a very important and long-standing issue for the agency and mr. frumkin has been a big part of the efforts to make progress on this issue. and finally, jennifer you'll who has been with the agency for 18 years. she is a doctorate in nuclear engineering from m.i.t. and in fact the nrc health provider the
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opportunity to pursue the study's. right now she helps makes decisions on where the nrc spends its research money, to best advance the science and nuclear safety. most recently she was part of a 24/7 operation center team during the japan crisis and because of her expertise she was asked to serve on the international atomic energy agency fact-finding mission to japan. these three outstanding and perfection of their representatives of the thousands of individuals who work day in and day out to make sure we meet our responsibilities for nuclear safety to the public. now i'm sure the recent events in japan in their implications for how we approach nuclear safety in this country are foremost in everyone's minds. since the events began to unfold four months ago, the nrc has taken strong and immediate actions to ensure the continued safety of the nations that we are power plants. in light of the events in japan,
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the commission has undertaken a systematic and methodical review of the nrc's nuclear safety program. this review had both short and long-term components and it has moved forward with a strong sense of urgency given the significant safety issues under examination. to spearhead this effort the commission established a task force made up of some of the agency's most expert staff. altogether with the six members on this task force they represent more than 135 years of regulatory experience. throughout his review the task forces have full access to all of the other staff at nrc headquarters and in our regions and ultimately our nrc staff are continuing to work in japan to assist the japanese government as they respond to the situation there. as part of its review the task force reached out to the federal emergency management agency to benefit from their expertise and emergency management as well as
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to the institute for nuclear power operations in order to understand the industry's response to the events in japan. additionally the task force considered information received from stakeholders and monitored monitor international efforts and reports at the international atomic energy agency and the nuclear energy agency and other organizations. last week this task force completed its 90-day review, part of the short-term review assigned to them by the commission and submitted its report and recommendations of the commission for its consideration. in line with the nrc's commitment to transparency and openness, the commission has made this full report publicly available for everyone to see. the task force will also formally present a report to commission a public meeting tomorrow. i want to take the members of the task force for their tremendous work. it is clear that their focus remains first and foremost on the rear safety.
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in particular want to acknowledge charlie miller who delays his retirement in order to lead this effort. he still has hopes of retiring soon but we are doing our best to talk him out of it. this task force developed a set of 12 recommendations many with both short and long-term elements and they were recommendations that are needed to strengthen nuclear safety in this country. in its review the task force did not find any imminent risk to public health and safety when the continued operation of the nation's nuclear power plants. the task force was clear however that any accident involving damage to the reactors fuel and uncontrolled radioactive release of the magnitude of fukushima even one without significant health consequences, is inherently unacceptable. this is the same reaction i have seen as i have attended meetings around the country and really throughout the world. quite simply, many of us who work in this field thought that
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this type of accident could not and would not happen again. so the challenge for the congress, the industry in and the public and of course the agency is how to better ensure an accident like the one in japan will not happen in the united states. but like the doctors hippocratic oath we must ensure we do that in a way that does no greater harm to their nuclear safety. i think that is something and i hope to share with you some thoughts today about how i think we can do that. as you can tell i'm tremendously proud of the work of the task force. they have given us an excellent starting point with which to tackle this important question and challenge. over the next 90 days, just like the task force took 90 days to do their review, i call on the commission to do its job to systematically and methodically reviewed these recommendations and a public and transparent way from all of the relevant stakeholders. regardless of your view on the
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task force recommendations, this is a step that i think we can all agree on. this is by no means the first time we have contemplated significant changes to our approach and nuclear safety. throughout the nrc's history approach to nuclear safety and security has necessarily a fault as new scientific information and operational experience has given us a better understanding of nuclear technology and its risks. although this process has primarily unfolded incrementally, through piecemeal and patchwork changes along the way the history of nuclear power has also been punctuated by several significant events that challenge and up-ended our understanding of nuclear safety and security. in 1975 the browns ferry fire occurred at a nuclear power powerplant and this led us to rethink our understanding of fire protection an issue that we continue to work on to this day.
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in 1979 to three-mile accident, three mile island accident let us like this to rethink a large number of safe improvements and approaches to safety at nuclear power plants. including a strong focus and emphasis on the control rooms and have people working in those environments could best deal with a challenging situation like the accident at three mile island. and of course the september 11, 2001 terrorist attacks was another watershed event that caused us to dramatically rethink how we approach nuclear security in this country. these events led to dramatic changes in how the nrc regulates and alternately how the nuclear industry operates. changes they remain with us to this day. based on the task force analysis and recommendations, it is clear that the accidents at the fukushima dai-ni chi sight site is another such event. in laying out irregular troy framer the 21st century, the commission's task force has charted a path forward on how we
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can fundamentally strengthened the nrc nuke we are safety program. now these task force recommendations are too expensive for me to fully discuss today. they range in areas from loss of power from earthquakes, flooding, spent fuel pools, the venting of hydrogen and emergency preparedness. they include proposed newark remits for nuclear power plants to evaluate and upgrade their seismic flood detection, to strengthen their ability to deal with prolonged loss of power and ultimately to develop emergency plans that specifically contemplate the possibility of events involving multiple reactors. throughout the report the task force emphasizes that effective nrc action is essential to address these challenges and voluntary industry initiatives are no substitute for strong and effective nrc oversight. in addition to the specific recommendations, the task force
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called on the commission to redefine adequate protection in light of what we have learned through fukushima. for those of you who are not steeped in parlance adequate protection is likely not a familiar term. ultimately our statutory responsibility is for safety. it is the touchstone of what we do as regulators and the standard of safety that the nrc must require nuclear power plants and other licensees in order to allow them to operate. over the last 25 years, there have been few occasions where the commission has deemed it necessary to revisit the standard and redefine what safety ultimately means. we did so after september 11 and now the task force established by the commission believes we should do so again. given the insights of the fukushima accident has provided about rare catastrophic events. while the decision whether to redefine the core definition of safety is one for the commission
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to ultimately make by examining task force recommendations it is clear that fukushima was an unacceptable accident and we need to take strong steps to ensure that type of accident does not happen in the united states. as we consider and respond to these recommendations, the commission is committed to involving the public and their stakeholders in this process. at at the nrc we never forget that nuclear regulation is the public's business and that we have the responsibility to conduct their work or family and transparently. since my very first speech after joining the commission ama seven years ago, i have emphasized that own fitness and transparency are indispensable ingredients for effective decision-making. in order to move forward openly and transparently, i propose to my commission colleagues a roadmap for taking action on this report. the centerpiece of this proposal is a series of public commission
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meetings with the nrc staff and the many stakeholders who doubtless will have opinions about the task force report. in the lead-up to these meetings there would be an opportunity for stakeholders to provide feedback on the task force recommendations and for the nrc staff to provide additional information to the commission about their thoughts on the task force recommendations. i believe this approach will help ensure that the commission benefits from the information and perspectives that are stakeholders bring to the table. we are in a strong position to date to be able to move forward quickly and effectively because the task force did an outstanding job with with the tremendously challenging responsibility. the american public should be grateful and proud of the service of these members. this task force is clearly done its part in helping us better understand what nuclear safety requires any post fukushima world. now it's time for mike colleagues and me to to do are
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perfectly of the responsibility a responsibility to the american people to diligently and expeditiously review these recommendations and make the best decisions to ensure the continued safety of the public. in light of the task force were, i see no reason why the commission cannot provide clear direction on each of these recommendations and less than 90 days. that is the time the commission gave the task force to do its job and i believe that is more than enough time for the commission to outline a clear path forward. now i don't think that means that the agency will be able to take final action on all of these matters. since certain of the recommendations themselves are requirements or changes to our regulations that in and of themselves may take months or years to develop. but i believe we have enough information at this time to take the necessary interim steps on issues identified in the task force and to initiate the longer-term changes of our
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regulations that will allow for full and meaningful participation by the public. in order to provide a clear direction within the 90 days, it is up to all of us to think about new ways to do things differently. that should not be unexpected since these are not normal times for for the nrc norm for our licensees. we all know that some changes are in order and none of us want to make -- decisions. we must move forward with the urgent called by the safety issues. as chairman i am committed to ensuring that the commission has all the information it needs to make timely decisions and take decisive actions and response to the task force recommendations. as i alluded to in my earlier remarks, this is by no means the first time we have undertaken a significant reevaluation of what nuclear safety and security requires. nearly a decade ago we embarked on an effort to overhaul and
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strengthen the security of the nation's nuclear plants in the aftermath of the september 11 attacks. while they move forward with short-term changes it has taken the nrc in the industry almost 10 years to fully develop and implement the new framework. i believe it would be unacceptable for our current efforts to take that long. that is why i'm calling today for the nrc and the nuclear industry to commit to complete and implements the process of learning and applying the lessons of fukushima daiichi accident within five years, by 2016. this will take a lot of hard work, strong and decisive leadership from the commission and an even stronger commitment by our licensees to continue to make safety the number one priority. we ultimately have no other choice in this regard. i think the task force has provided an excellent start to this effort and i believe that we are more than up to the task of seeing this effort through.
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ultimately this is not a challenge or problem for me or the members of the commission or the agency or the nuclear industry. ultimately it is a challenge for all of us as we continue to ensure nuclear power can be used safely and securely in this country. this is not an nrc problem are nuclear industry problem. is ultimately a safety imperative. the american people are looking to everyone involved in the clear safety from the operators to the regulators to the members of the public to participate in our process, to do their part in continuing to protect the public and this is something i think on which we must deliver. so with that i thank you for your attention i would be happy to answer any questions you might have. thank you. [applause] >> thank you and we do have a lot of questions today as evidenced by the presence of a fair number of working reporters covering the story today. let's talk about the core of
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your speech so to speak and we will ask which of the recommendations in the report do you think are the most urgent first of all? >> i think the task force did a really nice job of breaking the recommendations down into several different bins. there were a number of recommendations in which they recommended that we take immediate action. those that require -- some of which would be done for a longer-term process like regulations. i could go through the list here. i think of where they really thought the more immediate actions could be taken but they are in some of the clear areas. when you lose all electric power this site, that is clearly a challenge we saw in japan. the importance of fully understanding the impact of natural hazards and earthquakes on a site. the importance of being able to
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monitor spent fuel pools and no one understand the condition of the spent fuel pools and the event of an accident. in short and perhaps more appropriately the real answer this question, this is what the commission needs to work through the next 90 days, staking out which recommendations are most important, which do we want to implement on a short-term timeframe in which they want to implement on a longer timeframe. but i think as i said the task force has given us a good place to start. >> perhaps as questioners are to be an answer your speech and i came in before the speech was completed. you've been quoted as saying you want to fast-track the recommendations. is that parallel to your comment about the five years? >> well i think in order to get to a decision in five years we have to start somewhere in the place to start is with this task force. and their recommendations. the commission asked for this report and the staff was assembled to completed and they did their job in 90 days. i think it is reasonable for us
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to go through those recommendations and review them in 90 days. that doesn't mean we are done at that point. many of these recommendations themselves suggest the need for longer-term review and action by the commission so i expect that this will begin the start of a process that i would like us to see have a goal of completing in five years. >> as you say, they asked for that report to be creative. the question is have you consulted with your fellow commissioners on the timelines you have laid out and what do you think you have to do to gain support? >> we have begun the process of consulting and i actually this morning had a meeting with my colleagues where i laid out my proposal for is giving this first that done in 90 days and i suspect we will continue to have discussions over the next several weeks as we begin the process of examining and reviewing this report. of course we have a meeting tomorrow where the commission will meet to talk about it, so i
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think this is always an involved process whenever we have the kind of sweeping changes to our regulations. it is important that we hear from stakeholders and a large number of people to make sure we move forward in an appropriate way but as i said i believe we can act on these recommendations in 90 days. >> in other words you are saying you believe you have support? >> well, we will see. >> okay, very well. you are talking about the 90 days. why is the 90-day timeline so important as the questioner asked if there is no imminent threat to safety? >> i think as the task force laid out, there are a number of actions that should be taken in an immediate timeframe. that doesn't mean again that there is an imminent threat. if there were an imminent threat we would be shutting down facilities in this country. is important understand that is not we are suggesting but again the process of any type of
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regulatory action we take is invariably a process that takes some time. if it is a process that involves changing our regulations and that invariably will take a year or more to complete and then following that there are likely changes so any and all of that can add up to several years or more. so it is important i think we begin with a simple task of reviewing the recommendations in the reporting coming to a final decision on those. the other point i would like to emphasize is that if you look at the commission schedule right now, the work we have in front of us is buried. a big tea visa that right now is looking at the licensing and potential review of new reactors licenses. for the first time in a long time in this country are go right now we are on a schedule to complete those reviews sometime by the end of this year and i simply think it would not be appropriate for us to go forward with those kinds of new reviews if we have not yet disposition the recommendations in this task force.
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we have to understand what they will mean for new reactor licenses and if we want to keep that work moving forward at a reasonable pace we have to first come to some decision and resolution with these recommendations. >> century brought up the question of the application i'm going to ask a follow-up to that. give people an idea of the landscape in the united states of how many nuclear plants are out there and how many essentially people would like to build now? >> well we have 104 operating plants in the country right now and we have a number of applications in front of the commission to license new reactors. if you look at that group of applications there is probably just a handful or fewer of plants that if they were to receive a license would move to construction. right now there's a plant in georgia and a plant in south carolina where there is kind of pre-construction work going on to prepare the site or the potential of a new reactor being
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license at those sites so it is really right now just a few plants that are moving forward, if they were to receive a license. >> can you talk about visiting japan for the first time after the accident? what did you expect to see and maybe on one hand the technical things that the witness stand on the other hand the human things? ..
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for the people of japan. and to see people from the nrc and other u.s. agent is working there to help our japanese colonies, i was just a bit of reinforcement for me about the strong bond would have with their colleagues in japan. so i was very impressed with the efforts and the focus of the people there and the dedication on all sides to try and work out very difficult issues in a challenging environment. >> hedy think they're doing quiet >> well, you know, ultimately i don't think i'm in a position to judge. i don't think any of us can truly understand the magnitude of the crisis in the magnitude of the challenge in japan. but what i think you can do best to provide expertise as they requested and help them handle a
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very challenging situation. but as i said, what i did see was a lot of people very dedicated to resolving some very difficult challenges. be that clearly are annexation to figure out what to do about what they did not do well and apply that landscape to the united states. can you break that down a bit as to lessons learned from our? and obviously to reflect the recommendation, specifically japan situation, you see something that was good at coming up with a good. apply to that if you would, please. >> well, the international community as a whole is really working to that question to understand what lessons they've learned. as the task force laid out, clearly we don't want to have a better understanding of the nuclear power.
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clearly there's an appreciation that we want to be able to manage the situation which uses electric power to be able to manage that with more certainty and to maintain safety systems and instrumentation and control systems for much longer period of time then i plans are generally designed for right now. so there are some obvious lesson that we've seen so far. there will be more specific last that will be coming out on the work that was spearheaded by jennifer, working with the iaea. so will learn more in the coming year that would give us more specifics about what kinds of things we need to change. clearly we have to make sure we consider some of the things i talked about as well as the impact of fuel pools and ultimately the fact you could have multiple reactors have been challenges at the same time. in many ways these for novel challenges and i think our colleagues in japan responded in
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a way they thought the status, with a limited resource is that a large earthquake like that could present and the challenges of a dramatic, difficult situation. >> the question asks what in your situation is a question of nuclear energy in japan after others provoke? >> well, don't you want to speculate on the future of japan. ultimate bet is a decision to government japanese people have to make. my focus in the focus for the nrc should be on ensuring that in this country we continue to do what we need to do to expand the safety net, if you will, to make it a little bigger, the for some of the things that may have been fallen through in japan and that's what the task force to. >> to think about jewish insert people living in nuclear power plants are adequate and should
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you require plant operators and ceramic government to conduct periodic chills of real people? >> right now we have a situation that is designed over two primary areas. in nuclear power plant is very plan and prepare for evacuation in the short-term. beyond that, we have prepared and planned for the ability to take action to secure food or other material that could lead to radiation being ingested and individuals to the aftermath of an accident. that funds a very good at any basis for for now. one of the things the task force that that is they made recommendations in the area. one of them was that facilities in the short-term need to make sure they can plan for the potential of long-term loss of electric power. until we address the recommendation to do with that
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situation, we went to make sure the emergence deplaning perspective the operators are looking to see ways they can address that type of situation. one of the recommendations the task force had a source for the longer-term review to take a look at how we can better the impacts of multiple unit had been a challenge one time and what kind of impact that might have in an program. so i think there's things the task force was to the short-term and things they told us we need to look at the long-term. fundamentally right now we believe we have a system that is adequate to deal with challenges as we know them. again, i would remind people of the event tonight meant to say. unlike the event to occur, and the appropriate steps to be taken as a license the tubercular state and local governments to ultimately take the tips to protect the public. and that is the focus for our programs. i think right now we have a good
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basis. >> any talk about sort of the specific recommendations on the issues needing a reporter, what people have to do right now is a current requirement. what you need immediately in the longer-term, what would be gary say ideal? >> in the area for the loss of electric power, which is an important area, they recommend we began immediately to change or regulation in two ways. one comment to this change the scope of how we deal with this loss of electric power. and that was to ensure that we can at least cope with that eight hours. in addition to that, if we were to get into a more severe scenario that should have an ability in an extended play to cope for another 72 hours. so that is a very comprehensive but important recommendation that the task force recommended to fund itself to the longer-term is that changed the
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regulations would require. the second thing that they suggested was that we shoot in order right now to take a quick nuclear jihad on site and basically ensure that equipment would help mitigate this long-term extended last power and put it in locations and which is more to be able to withstand the kinds of things we saw in japan come in and the potential for significant funding from the potential for an earthquake. it's really a two-pronged approach. so in the short-term, we would better shore up that equipment we are to have in place that performs a mitigation function of the river to get into the more severe situation. the couple that with the longer-term effort to change regulations to be able to do with the situation for much longer than we have to require that now. >> explained why eight hours away 72 hours. obviously those decisions for a reason. >> well, some of them are good
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historical information right now generally nuclear power plants responded about were required to cope for four to eight hours to the loss of electric power. as the task force to distribute looked at the issue of found eight hours was an appropriate time to ultimately put the plans in a position in which they could take all the other actions that would be needed to do this more extended period of hoping. 58 hours i see the tiny need to prepare them for everything else that you need to do to get that much longer 72 hours. so again, this is something i think will be tremendous debate and discussion about because these are the kinds of things we want to hear of stakeholders. we want to have more refined analysis cautions that the task force recommended doing the speculation. that's how we get this kind of input. >> the questionnaire asked him to the best of your knowledge,
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has anyone died or been seriously injured as a result of this accident in japan and is there any prognosis on how the workers of nuclear power plant have been affected overall? >> well, in general, members of the public were evacuated and protective actions taken to reduce the potential long-term impact from the incident. there were some workers who have received doses in excess of what we typically put the cat for an emergency worker in a situation like this. you can come of that is necessarily next tactic given the challenges of this site. there've been a few workers who received some skin exposures that are significant. at this point, certainly nothing that appears to have any impact ultimately for an immediate
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health impacts. the challenge is really dealing with place in their homes, which personally was missing were not discussed or ultimately impact to people. be prepared to leave your home for extended periods of time because it not something any of us would want to deal with and i don't think you'd consider that to be of no impact. only talk about the radiation exposures in because the professor presence of the we have, they were able to beat denmark and that's a good thing. but as i said, as i type people in the international communities and people in this country, there is no one who believes what happened to japan to send an accept when this country. that's why we have some recommend nations. >> we are here in the nation's
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capital and an important neighborhood, people always want to know about the players and all the different tiers in iraq. the person asked to make an attack by the nrc's relationship with the white house and how can other government agencies hope your efforts. >> as an independent regulatory has a role here in setting nuclear policies. certainly during the event of the crisis of japan, there is a tremendous amount of coordination between the nrc in many different agencies and the federal government. in fact, the nrc staff went over to japan, did not go over as part of the usaid team that was there for humanitarian ecosystem. in fact there was a tremendous amount needed to have offered assistance that can help assist japanese people. while they may have seen the
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headlines come it wasn't necessarily the u.s. bombs. in general, but i do my interaction as chairman is we have worked very collaboratively and cooperatively with the white house and other agencies, but there has been a very strong respect for the independent road the nrc in the nutley making the safety decisions. >> someone is asking, how do you determine the appropriate balance between the regulatory team industries of? a supposedly lived an ideal world, the industry would be releasing aggressively, the launcher makes. in the business world doesn't suggest the depend adult model. have you see working right now and how would you like to hear? >> well, i think in general the system works pretty well. we have the nrc, which has a responsibility to safety
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requirements. we have an industry which has been ultimately upon for implementing those in day-to-day responsibility for safety. the cells to save regulatory organizations which have mentioned earlier that plays a role in providing excellence. i think we have many different pieces working on this. of course we have the public and i think one of the things i seem to be amazed i is the of engagement in the public on all these issues. i think whenever you bring a lot of different views together, so it's more challenging to make decisions, but in the end i think it's the right. this is a difficult area in which to make decisions. and so by design, it design, it is a system that is intended to be a man transparent with a lot of different stakeholders.
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>> suffered a horrible accident, there's an opportunity now to improve regulation from your vantage point. is that the benefit of this disaster? the question or makes a point that some would argue any press is good press in there for the negative might forge a positive. is that essentially an opportunity of presenting? >> i don't think there's anyone involved in this and would not have this opportunity. this is not something we want to be faced with. so given the challenges in front of a scummy as an obligation to do what is right. and i think as i said that the process that they think is going to be involved in is going to need here from the indus treaty. we talk a lot about impacts. the impacts are the changes that we as a regulator may. if i talk to some place, one of the things that these impressed upon me an important point is that as we make these changes,
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it's very important that we ensure the continued operation facilities to this country in the task force on there is not a minute timer throughout with the facility. as you make changes, we have to go about it in a systematic way for unnecessary challenges of the dutch nuclear facilities or is it why will have the discussion of the right way to go forward. >> on the task force reportor comment person ask him very surprised the tone of the report for the patchwork of regulations in the person asked, are things really that bad? >> well, i wouldn't say that patchwork is bad. i think what the task force is trying to say with that is looking back now, with some degree of hindsight can be put together the pieces of our regulatory system, what you find
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is there have been incidents, change the modification and what i think this task force state is a really applaud them because they took a look and realized there may be a better organized in print will now for all of these changes we've made over the years. solano view this as a bad thing. it's simply a recognition that is if issues come up with addresses issues. there have been maybe enough issues now a trend that developed about the task force that is incidents in this country fell into two categories. there is this thing so much mixture plans for tech, so-called device-based taxes. not to make sure they can withstand earthquakes and funding, but there may always be earthquakes or floods or some natural disaster we have an efficient. and so we have to ascended beyond that, which we talk about is that they've turned an extended design basis. what they found over the years
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as they as they looked at the things the commission did that fact without calling it an extended time basis, it has done additional requirements and regulations in that presented and created the patchwork. but it's not necessarily a problem. it's simply a historical developments in nature of what we do. so now we have an opportunity to take all of those things and put them into some are consistent things that as we go forward will provide a way for new vacations or new requirements in response to give us a better sense of which does activities falling. the design uses for safety as opposed to those things that are dealing with the mitigation and the effects of the design uses that you can't quite consider. >> as we know, it is coded to shut a nuclear rack is by 2022. is that an overreaction and you expect to see potentially other
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countries following to? >> well, my focus is first and foremost on the u.s. can and making sure we have the appropriate reaction in this country to the events in japan. ultimately, i think it's up to the german people to decide in the german government to decide what's appropriate for them, given their situation and circumstances. [inaudible] >> you know, i don't know. it's hard to say. for the crucial importance for hearing united states for us to take this task force recommendations to work them in a systematic way. i think every country i've seen is taking some kind of approach to address the situation in japan and ultimately if those approaches are a nuclear safety of the handle between information of which should make a decision about the long-term prospects. the mac as a scientist is the dear country juggle its energy needs, is nuclear and unnecessary part of that
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balance? >> well, today i took the oath of office to be a commissioner, i stop -- i stopped having opinions about facts. emotionally, my job is nuclear safety. there's a lot of people in washington throughout the country who have a lot of good ideas that letter energy mix should be, and i would humbly defer to them and know that my focus is on safety and that's really where we are. the >> lasky that question a few years down the road. >> there's news today about the food supply in japan being contaminated and catalans so forth. is that to be asked acted under the circumstances? >> well, you can come from what i've seen at the levels of contamination are immeasurable. there is no -- they are not levels that are immediately harmful to anyone. they think as you do with a
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situation like this, there's always going to be the challenge of maintaining and communicating with people were producing food. that's why we have a pathway come a 50-mile area outside of the nuclear power plant were we prepared preplan to be able to take the appropriate actions for livestock, other food reduction that could ultimately allow radioactive material to get into the food supply. so i think any system you have this going to have challenges and that's part of why there is monitoring to ensure the integrity of that. the >> yucca mountain. we have a lot of questions and i've try to boil it down. he seems to be boiled down to one of the questions i had, which takes a legal approach and not as the questioners asked the federal pearce court said in a row in this month at the nrc must act on the d.o.e. application for nuclear waste storage at yucca mountain asking, with the honors he act
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on the application what must be done eventually to move forward on that, what becomes of the application process from this point on? >> i can't comment too specifically on this because it's not a matter in front of the commission, this legal question. certainly read the opinion from the court and the commission has that was deliberate on the issue. >> what are the options for long-term storage out there? >> secretary of energy is a blue ribbon commission to examine options for long-term storage in this country. but that is some thing that they have a focus on. for the nrc, our focus is as had earlier sent safety and purity. we've taken a good look at the fuel and labor can be maintained safely and securely for 60 years beyond the time the plant was
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shut down, which generally gives you about 100 years or more is safe storage and secure storage. the commission last year but one step further in ich the end staff to begin exploring beyond not, maybe two, three, 400 years to see if their immediate safety security issues that came out of the causes to do something differently right now. that is something we've engaged on them will be working not to do that. but right now, we don't see an immediate turn with the safety and security of that field. >> extreme weather -- seems as if with the more these days. does that present greater risk to nuclear power out there? and if so, does that embody the recommendation? the >> that's precisely one of the recommendations, to make sure we could understand that the natural phenomenon that can occur. the way we've always let that it is to look at what we think the worst thing is happening to
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store it for you and make sure the plants can be designed to deal with that kind of actor. of course if you get new information in the thicket terres to understand and obey what happened from a natural mama not come always want to revise and update our requirements. and in fact, the commission to working on re-examining two fundamental issues at the national hazards. one had to do with earthquakes in the central and eastern part of the united states in the potential that our understanding that this wasn't as good as it was when we initially laid those facilities and the other had to do with funding and potential for more flooding events that we had initially planned on. again, this and many of those will require changes to facilities. there is no immediate term, but it shows were also learning organization that we would get no information come over to
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apply that to implement. >> those of us old enough to remember in the late 70s and early 80s with the fairmont public protests. a person is referencing what they are seeing out there today. i guess ultimately the question is, what use he is the level of public support for nuclear power out there and as a follow-up, is there an increased level of opposition in the united states as a result of the japan disaster? the >> boy, that's a difficult one for me to answer. a lot of people do polling twin cities questions and generally what i see mostly sab piece in the newspaper is their support for nuclear power in this country, but i think there is concern in opposition as well. i had a chance a few months ago to go up to the indian point nuclear power plants, a plant in new york as a lot of public
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interest. an authenticated the plant were about four or five or maybe 10 people protesting partially because i was visiting a bank. so he held a press conference and two at the plants, visited the plants and on my way out i stopped and talked to the folks. what i find in general is very much the people who have a legit question about the safety of nuclear power. and ultimately i think it is the job with the nrc to make sure that we take the appropriate steps to ultimately ensures safety of the public. and in the seven years i've been at the nrc, or six years, what i sounded that the people who work at the agency are dedicated every day to do we not, to making sure we protect public health and safety. it's what we do. i have just been impressed to see in so many different ways as a commissioner now is chairman.
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>> very well. i'll just ask you to standby. with a couple of less housekeeping matters to take care of. i like to remind her audience that upcoming speakers through july 20, michele bachmann, presidential candidate representing minnesota will be out here the priest goes on august 19, governor gary johnson, former governor of new mexico and presidential candidate. october 13, secretary ray lahood and the secretary of department of transportation and tom brokaw will be here to talk about his new book. officially it by 2% i guess that the traditional npc mod. thank you, mr. jaczko. i can remember the remember greece attended to demonize nuclear power, so quit in china syndrome and in the modern culture with no less than the very popular simpsons, where homer simpson works and doesn't always need to have a level of education that you bring to the
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podium. so when you see those portrayals of nuclear power, does that bother you? what is your reaction to it? >> well, i wouldn't say it bothers me at all. i would say tran re-are very funny and ultimately it's the job of the nrc to communicate to the public what we do and i know the people who work at the nrc dedicated to nuclear safety in our tremendous a talented group of people. as they lit down that nuclear power plants in this country, they are dedicated to those plants as well. it definitely don't have disagreements and differences, but in the end, you know, if everyone does their job right, we'll get there. >> how about a round of applause for a guest speaker. [applause] i'd like to thank you all for coming here today i don't think you think the national press club staff including our
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laboring gracchi center for organizing today's event. remember you can find more information at the national press club on our website at you can buy my of today's program history being of nuclear event as well. thank you very much. we are adjourned. [applause] [inaudible conversations] sound that [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations]
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>> next, a perkins duchenne worm on congressional redistricting plan being considered around the country. u.s. house districts are redrawn every 10 years to reflect population shifts. so far can redistricting plans in 15 states have been challenged in court. over the next hour and a half, panelist look at redistricting plans in california, florida and texas and how communities they d been affected. >> t >> the witching hour hash has arrived. it canve and. and tom mann, a senior fellow yuri perkin and i am delightedwh toe welcome all of you with us here at brookings this morning.s
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and to our legacies and not in to a session entitled, a status report on congressional thing. now, you may have noticed on the screen redistricting di, wondering why that they are.rin we understand some see how arkham held to tweet wherever you were. and if you do, we want you to know that hashtag. tatw y is actually said that, norm, but there it is. >> it was written down for you. [laughter] >> eye in i am the well-known tweeter. six months ago, we had a session here almost to the day, that was a preview of the redistricting session. today we are going to take stock of how that process is unfolding
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and with what consequences we can detect at least now. why do people pay so much attention to redistricting? a good question. first of all, it is a fascinating game. political junkies simply can't resist. we can start talking about it the midterm election before and continue on for years after as we try to discern the consequences of it. but more importantly there are gentlemanly high stakes involved in redistricting. certainly, it is relevant to play control of the house where democrats now need 24 additional seat gains to regain the majority.
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obviously, as it plays out in state legislatures and local governments, it has a bearing on partisan control there as well. it is certainly important as far as minority representation. a substantial majority of a population gains since the last census have been among my already's and the question now becomes, will those population gains be reflected in seats. in the house and at other levels of office. finally, redistricting has some bearing, disputed to be sure, not dominant of course, but nonetheless, important for competitiveness, for responsiveness and four polarization. i think for all of these reasons, one has to with
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knowledge the stakes of this process are unusually high. it is also important to reemphasize the fact that the u.s. is truly an outlier in the democratic world when it comes to the political control of the administration of elections. we won't today talk about the sec or the eac. we won't be talking about new state laws on voter i.d.'s, early voter registration. all of those are caught up and shaped very much by the political and partisan struggles that exist in this country. instead, we will be focusing on one aspect of that, namely redistricting. i think it is also important because of some of the new initiatives that have been taken on the redistricting process.
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perhaps the most interesting and visible is the switch to an independent citizens commission in the state of california, which is unfolding as we speak. david wasserman among others has reminded us how little time over there has been in the california u.s. house delegation over the last decade. when we had three truly dramatic electoral swings between the parties. simply, the state of california was insulated from that process. the question becomes, does that game change? now florida passed a couple of initiatives that have tried to
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impose some discipline on that process. right now, the swing state of florida has 19 republican members of the house and five democrats as i recall. it may be the sharpest, strongest partisan gerrymander in the country. will these new requirements approved by the initiative process have any bearing? we also have ongoing efforts to really increase the transparency of the redistricting process and in particular efforts to try to get citizens involved in mapmaking themselves. we fortunately have a wonderful panel to talk about all of these matters and others today. our planned this morning is to begin with initial presentations then we will have a discussion among our panelists and finally we will take questions from all
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of you. i am going to introduce our panelist in the order in which they will speak. we will begin with david wasserman, who is down here to my left. david is the house editor of cook political report. he is responsible for handicapping and analyzing house districts. last year, david rhodes, author, put together a volume called better know a district which is the bible for this round of redistricting. it is a wonderful piece of work david and we have all come to rely on it. david is going to get us off with an overview of where we stand and how the process is unfolding. then we are going to turn to my colleague immediately on my right, anita earls, who is the
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founder and executive director of the southern coalition for social justice, a nonprofit organization in their am, north carolina. i need it has been a civil rights lawyer. she has been deeply involved in voting rights and in redistricting, and she will speak on a topic of enormous interest. as i said, the population growth has been among minorities, but it isn't yet clear that growth will be reflected in speech. she will give us an overview of how that is playing out in a number of states and how quickly we have or will be moving into courts on that process. we will then turn to michael mcdonald, who is a nonresident senior fellow here at brookings, associate professor of political science at george mason
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university. someone who has been a consultant to redistricting authorities including arizona, redistricting commission, who has launched through brookings and aei as well as the public mapping project, and will tell us of the efforts to really increase public participation and transparency in this entire process. we will then and with my colleague, norm subward, a resident scholar at aei who everyone knows appropriately. norm is going to tell us after hearing from our other three colleagues, what it all means for politics and policy. so that is the game plan. david, kick us off. >> thank you to brookings for
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giving so much love to and often under love topic, but i often call redistricting a once in a decade nerd fest for politicians, pundits, academics, lawyers demographers, cartographers you name it. i am pleased to see so many nerds out here in the audience. i definitely am one. god knows, but redistricting is really one of the only arena is it not the only arena in which it is fair to compare lebron james and dennis kucinich. i really don't think that dennis kucinich even if he decides to take his talent elsewhere perhaps the two washington state, will do any better in terms of winning. that i really think the examples of how redistricting affects our politics are everywhere around us. even if they are not necessarily part of the news articles that we read on major issues at stake these days. during the medicare fight for example, i don't think glass tyranny of us could have predicted that paul ryan or the state of wisconsin would
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generate so much attention and coverage this year in terms of the fiscal woes facing the state and paul ryan's budget and i think a lot of the attention on the district has been replaced because democrats are saying well we have got the kenosha county supervisor and a lot of pundits, a lot of people you've talked to in the consulting world. very few of them who are credible would give him a chance of taking it to paul ryan. but i do find significant in his district, and if you plot out all 435 house seats on the scale of the most republican districts have the most democratic districts in the country, on a scale of the partisan voting guess which one is the 218th district, the fulcrum of the house? it is paul ryan's district and i think are made is a perfect illustration of why it is going to be difficult for democrats to get to that magic number of 218
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in the house. not only because of a personal appeal but because before these recall elections in wisconsin republicans are trying to edge near a plan that will make his points more republican. redistricting is a game of moving goalposts and another goalpost and that is moving right now is the ability of republican leaders in the house to corral a lot of their members to get behind any kind of deal on the debt deal. how does redistricting factor into this equation? well it is not as difficult to pass any kind of package thanks to the line in the sand drawn by 60 members of the tea party caucus in the house. that is one out of every four republicans in the house. but if you take a look at what is happening in redistricting just about everyone will have to take on new voters in that means that we have a whole slew of republican incumbents in the house beyond just those in the tea party caucus who are affected by taking on new voters and looking over their shoulders
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for potential primary challenges. and i think that is really making it more difficult for anyone to break from a hard line on that subject. but today's subject is a status report on congressional redistricting. we are done in 10 states which means we have 33 to go and seven states that need redistrict because they only have one district. if we are keeping score of which party is more like it again seats in certain states, where there writing is basically on the wall at this point even though only 10 have completed congressional redistricting we can really say a lot more about what is likely to happen in the rest of the states that have shown their hands thus far. democrats are likely to pick up a seed seat or republicans are like you to lose a seat in louisiana, maryland, nevada, washington. republicans are likely to gain a seat or democrats are likely to lose a seat in georgia, indiana,
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massachusetts, michigan, missouri, pennsylvania, south carolina, utah and i am leaving out north carolina and illinois because those are the big jackpot states with a really driving party potential for gain. than i have a question mark as far as which party is going to gain a seat or lose a seat and it could be a fair fight in states like iowa, new jersey and arizona are go but i'm sure the five states we'll be talking a lot about this morning and i will stop short in going on depth in this are illinois and north carolina which are opportunities for partisan capitalization on this redistricting. illinois for democrats picking up potential a five or six seats or four or five seats republicans losing five or six and illinois. north carolina where i put republican gains have possibly three seats be the -- depending on the legal challenge to the mass republicans are proposing and then california where he think democrats at the end of the day will probably pick up
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two or three seats as a result of the entangling of california's uncompetitive line at the moment. texas where i expect republicans netting two seats depending on the legal challenges we will be talking about in in the wild wild-card being florida. i am sure we will make that a big part of our discussion. but, there are two ways to measure how redistricting affects the sure in the house. you can look at it in terms of the scorecard that i just went over. if you add up all of those columns, which seat is going to end up ahead at the end of the day? i think it will be very close to a wash depending on florida. i think possible democrats could pick up a handful from the process which is surprising given republicans earn so many state legislative chambers and picked up so much control in 2010. but then, the other side of the equation is really how much can republican shore up the gains
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that have been made in 2010? and that is a part of the equation that has been more difficult for a lot of us in the pundit world to call a -- quantify. but one measurement that was kind of suggested at real clear and i appreciate this more than a lot of other metrics that have been thrown out there is how far to the right does it move as a result of republicans in pennsylvania and ohio and michigan? they have control of shoring up a lot of the gains they have already made in 2010. i think the answer is that on balance that 218 seats in the house, the seats that democrats will need to win on average to pick up the majority in the house will move two points to the right. that is where it is today. maybe from a district that is two points more republican than the national average, and we will probably get one or two points wider as well because the trend we are seeing in so many
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states as for underpopulated minority districts to spin into the suburbs and rob barry competitive suburban piece of the democratic voters that make them competitive or has made them competitive in the last few years. at the end of the day candidates and campaign still matter and that is why even after this process is completed and even after we have this new district lines there will be plenty of unintended consequences for us to talk about more than a year and a half from now. so, i look forward to hearing what others have to say. >> terrific. thank you for getting us off to such a good start. >> thank you and good morning. i'm really honored to be here and i want to thank the brookings institution for inviting me and giving me an opportunity to talk about what i have been focusing on through the redistricting process is what is the impact on minority communities? so i want to talk a little bit about that and talk about the legal standards of playing a role but then also see a quick
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word about the impact of technology on the process, what we are seeing and community involvement. but to start with, how are things shaping up so far for the interests of minority voters? it is very important to consider latino populations and they are looking differently than what is happening with african-american populations. i think across the country it is fair to say that the real concern about the fact of the huge growth of latino population is not being reflected in the states where their new there are new congressional districts being drawn and those populations feel that their voting strength is not being fairly reflected in those maps that have been proposed and drawn. so, in texas, the maldef and several other latino organizations have filed suit. last count there were five cases and a quarter and several in -- already filed how districts have
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been drawn. some of those claims are based on the fact that they increase in latino population was an reflected in the maps of the past. similarly the plans that have been with forwarding california, you may have read in the news ahead of the layout talking about an extreme frustration and disappointment that those maps are actually hurting latino districts and not reflecting the strength and not stay. so i think so, with the latino population i think it is fair to say that they are very concerned and ready to go to court because of the plans that a pass or not reflecting their voting sings. with african-american population i think the situation is a little different. their growth is not across the board grade in the states and they also i think possibly to a larger degree have a little more history of having majority minority districts drawn in being able to elect candidates of their choice.
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so they are, does harder to say nationally what is happening. a lot depends on whether they are in a winning or losing district, which parties in control of of state and how the voting rights act works in that state. we have states that are covered by parts of the voting rights act of states that are not covered. i will give two examples though that show some of the nuances when they were looking at the impact of the voting rights act in this round of redistricting. let me talk about north carolina for a minute, because the first congressional maps that were proposed by our republican controlled legislature north carolina actually increase the minority percentage in both of the states to congressional districts. and, throughout the state, african-american leaders were unhappy about that and the reason is because they felt that was actually training baron funds her mother congressional districts in the state. so where they had a history of being able to elect a candidate of choice in a district that was
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42% african-american, they don't want that the district to be packed. what they would call pat into a -- an interesting contrast is the situation with latino voters in nevada, where there is a question of whether or not they're going to make the trade-off between being a majority in a single district are having a greater influence in more than one district. but, i certainly want to say more about the impact of technology because they think as we are looking at this redistricting process unfolding, i expect the technology would make it easier to draw mass but i think it is making it easier for public involvement in a lot of different ways. i never knew you could tweet about redistricting but apparently you can. but also all the web sites. they not only give you the opportunity to draw maps but to really get a lot of information about the process and stay up to date very easily about what is happening. in north carolina they did the process of having simultaneous
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public hearings throughout the state so for the first time you could go to one location and here from citizens. i think they had six or seven different videoconferencing sites and those are very long public hearings. they were using technology to really facilitate public involvement. so my third is about public input. there i will say what i am seeing is that what is most impactful is where you have groups coming together and trying to draw unity plans are really trying to coalesce behind a plan that simply having individuals submit something in the legislative process is not as much of a check on some of the excesses as when you have nonprofit organizations that leaves coming together behind a single planet really working through the process. so that is something i have seen this time that hasn't happened before. >> thank you, nita. >> my name is michael and i'm a recovering gerrymander. i've been involved with redistricting since the late
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1980s and have been a redistricting consultant now in nine states. and, the experience of being in the room and talking to legislators about your districts and hearing a lot of gripes about what we are doing to their districts led me to realize that this is a very arcane process that the public is not engaged in, and really at the time in the 80's and 90s and in the last decade, really couldn't be involved and because the decisions were being made using technology that cost a substantial amount of money. at data best -- databases that were very difficult to use in just a technology than was an impediment to greater public dissipation within the process and also caught consequences of having restricted public
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participation and less transparency. people could really understand what the trade-offs were of different british game plans being offered by state legislators and the media basically had to take the state legislators word that was the only plan that was feasible and there were no other alternatives that were available. this is the way the world had to be. so over the last decade, working with a partner of mine at harvard, mica altman, tom and norm through brookings, a really wonderful advisory board of good government groups and bipartisan by the way as well so there are people on both sides, both democrats and republicans who see this process and know that it is not a good system we have in place here. we moved forward in providing this technology to the public. something else that has changed over the last 10 years and we talk about tweeting and other things, is the internet. the speed of the internet and
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the penetration of the internet. so it is possible now to actually run redistricting software through web browsers. that is what we have done. we have created software. is available on and it allows the public to draw their own redistricting plans and we infused the software with the data necessary to evaluate the plans that are being drawn as well so you can actually see what the political consequences are. it is a very complicated process because there is live data to be managed and software, so still there is a big hill to be climbed here, but we are trying to shoulder that burden as much as possible so that the public can be more engaged in this process. so what have we done up to this point? we have supported research giftings -- redistricting
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competition in virginia. there is one in arizona which will conclude this week. there is one in ohio which will start this week and we are discussing potentially doing other competitions in the state of new york. so, one of the ideas that we have had in let's get the public involved and offer prizes to the best districts that people can draw and have a panel of judges and again tom and norm were very gracious and agreeing to be the judges for virginia competition. so that is one of the ideas. at a high level we could have a competition and again you have to have organization that is involved with that. another level you could just open up the process so that either individuals or groups would have the same software and data that the redistricting experts have. we have been helping our groups or individuals in states like massachusetts and new mexico and other places to draw a map and
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take some advocacy efforts based on the maps they have been able to draw. so, lower level would need to sort of just let's open up the process and allow the public to draw up some plans. what have we seen from this? well we have seen that it has actually been impossible for people to draw a legal redistricting plan. at the outset when the criticism we had even before we attempted this was to say you can't do this. it is such a complex enterprise that it is not possible for somebody in the public to do it. only experts are -- have the ability and the skills to draw legal redistricting plans. well, can tell you from our experience in michigan the second-place congressional map in michigan was drawn by a 10-year-old. [laughter] a lot of the editorial boards in the state of michigan said that 10-year-olds at a much better job than the state legislature
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did in drawing congressional plans. there is more political fairness, more political districts. it didn't quite do is well on county boundaries but still, it showed that a 10-year-old could do this. in fact, that is what we found, that younger people really do engage in this. it is like a videogame for political junkies to draw these redistricting plans and in virginia we had, it was more of a student competition led by faculty members across the state. we had 15 students -- 15 at 13 of the state colleges and universities dry reducing plans. we had 55 plans are withdrawn and some of those plans actually were submitted as bills. so again it is actually possible that college freshmen, a 10-year-old, senior citizens,
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advocates, it is possible for the public to be engaged in this process. what did we learn from this? it is that there are alternatives to what the legislature legislature is putting forward that do better on some of even the constitutional requirements in some of the states. for example in virginia there is a requirement. many of the student maps in virginia did much better than the legislature's maps on -- for example. we also learned by opening up the process very broadly and having looked at this problem you can see new ways of approaching some of the issues that are very involved and important in redistricting such as minority representation. so one of the student plans in virginia showed an alternative way of drawing a congressional district that enhance minority representation and essentially, the black caucus within the state legislature took that map and said this is a good idea and they implemented that and that
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became the concept for their proposed map for congressional mapping in virginia. now virginia has a divided state legislature. we haven't actually seen a map that can pass the state legislature so it is possible that one of the student maps may be adopted by a judge or a plan adopted by a judge so there is even an a possibility that we may cross that magical threshold which i would have never dreamed possible that we could actually see some of these ideas really put into effect. it is a whole different way of even thinking about how we can do democracy in the u.s., where you could have the public arts vertus abating and engaging, offering real policy alternative and having those implemented. to whether things we learned very quickly. one as i already alluded do we in foreign-policy, they learn
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about these alternatives and they took some of these ideas too hard in the way in which they were drawing the districts and then we also educated the public quite a bit because it is one thing for the media to comment as one of those talking heads about redistricting. is quite a different thing for them to go to an institute or a 10-year-old and asked them about how did they approach redistricting? it changes the story from being something about process to putting a human face on it and we have had wonderful media coverage of these efforts both local and national media. and, finally as i said, we have shown that there are these alternatives that we can inform the policy making and show there is a better way of doing this. as we come out of this experience, i am hopeful that seeing how we have opened up this process that we can have a real discussion about what these policy trade-offs are and how
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can we go about implementing them 10 years from now? >> thank you, michael. norm. >> thanks, tom. it has been a real pleasure working with michael and his colleague. tom and i had quite an experience judging those virginia plans. tom is the simon cowell. >> and you were? >> unfortunately i was paula abdul i guess. [laughter] i will have to recover from that. i want to step back a bit and start to look at or think about a couple of questions. this really does become, call it market wonk fest which i think is a better characterization then there had. wonks perhaps you know is no spelled backwards. but, really at the root of this, beyond the competition, the viciousness, what it means for partisan balance is a broader
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concept of representation. one of the worrisome elements of the way we have been doing redistricting -- this was amplified a few years ago when texas under tom delay went at this twice in a decade in creating a different precedent. but if you think about length between voters and their representatives, even beyond what has now become the most powerful critique of redistricting as we have and voter should choose their representatives rather than representatives choosing representative choosing their voters it is becomes more difficult to link a representative when there is turmoil and from one round of redistricting to the next to really don't know where you are going to end up in what kind of representative you are going to have, whether you will have the same one of whether you are going to feel any sense of a community around you but people who are represented by a person because of some of the convoluted lines that have been drawn. so that has become i think a more significant problem.
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at the same time, it really is interesting to reflect on how the redistricting process in many ways has changed to reflect the changes in our politics. the last four ways in the 80's, the '90s and now are somewhat different from what we saw in the past. politicians naturally always want to maximize their own advantage and the pre-permanent campaign era of the theme was much more the incumbent protection one. the two parties would tend more to get together and say you protect your guys and we will protect ours. now, of course there is some of that depending on the state and the dynamics and who is going to control but it has become much more vicious. i think of it in this way. in an earlier era to us more about solidifying the goalposts and now it is as david said about moving them and moving them as much as you can. all of that is not just the permanent campaign in the high-stakes, the stakes growing higher as we have seen more
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turmoil in our politics. it has all been amplified at the supreme court, which is clueless to be truthful about the real world, especially when it comes to this area. as they have through a succession of decisions basically maniacally focused on one person, one vote. and the way in which they have focused on one person one vote is the height of absurdity. because they have for jack to districts that get down to a tiny number, little more than a handful of variation out of 600,000 people but all based on census data, that is antiquated before the ink is dry on the census forms because of population movement. so by doing so, especially in the air of powerful computing, they have made it much much easier to do than just vengeance to communities of interest, to county and county and other kinds of lines to compactness
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and other things. and it is becoming even more absurd excess of course from the beginning we have drawn house district lines within states, and because of the wide population of variations now and particularly because we are having more and more states, smaller states that are losing population, that one person one vote doesn't work very well. if you have a state that has a representative but has a population of 300,000 then as you try to move the districts around we are going to end up with districts that are millions of population. how you can reject a plan because it varies by 100 people out of 600,000 said that likely well you have one district that has a representative three times as powerful in terms of the number of voters as another is something that only anthony kennedy knows in his own mind, i guess. but it adds to our challenges. and let me add, one result of
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the way we are doing the redistricting now and the way some of these dates are playing out in the wide kinds of variations we are seeing even as we are seeing some interesting developments in places like california and florida that are trying to move it out of some of the vicious politics that have occurred between the parties is i am afraid, whichever party gains or loses this time pushed to the side, one result will be more polarization. if you look for example at what is likely to happen in north carolina, you have got three representatives, democratic representatives who are in very serious jeopardy right now. kissell, schuyler and mcintyre all of whom are among the remaining dwindling group of moderate to conservative lou dog democrats. and that if you look through a lot of these states, they are often the ones who are going to be on the chopping block in states where republicans are going to be able to gain a little bit more leverage.
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now it is not as if we have got moderate republicans left who can move onto the chopping block but as we have seen the kind of console -- what it is going to do in many of these districts is put even more for premium on the primary is the one place where a challenge can occur. and it is in those places that we see this kind of electromagnetic that either nominates more conservative candidates or takes the representatives who are there and pushes them in a different direction because they have got to respond to a smaller group of pure voters. and at the same time we are going to end up with many fewer heterogeneous districts. the process we have been describing here is far more bad of moving as david said many of these republican districts to be even more wide than they have been which is wider and wider over the last few waves anyhow and although there are some
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exceptions to this, pass them into their district, homogeneous districts when they go back home. as we can see with the dynamics now on the debt limit, that echo chamber which means that you can share a common set of facts or feel any fiduciary responsibility to represent people whose views may be different from your own because they are not a part of your district makes it harder to find the center come to an agreement. so those are some of the reasons why tom and i have joined with michael and mike to try to create at least a little bit different dynamic in this process to raise some of these other areas that the court has basically pushed to the side from compactness to communities of interest to even competitiveness, to try and figure out a way to alter the dynamic war to get the public thinking a little bit more so that we can have whatever occurs
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and a fight in which clinical figures are going to naturally try to maximize their advantage either personally or for their party. that is just the nature of the beast but to try and keep from having some of the worst other elements that can emerge from this process. >> thanks, norm. that last point he was making sort of underscores an important distinction that i think we all should keep in mind. you will oftentimes here people argue that the reason we have such extreme partisan polarization is because of gerrymandering. that is wrong. it has contributed, it has contributed but it has not it it been the dominant factor. but, ironically, gerrymandering has become more great consequence of polarization. that is, it sets up things in a way that leads to an
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exacerbation of an underlying condition and so the effort at reforms are trying to break that dynamic in some way. in that spirit, i would like to turn our conversation to california if we could. these are experiments in reform, one with new criteria imposed on a process, the other with a new process replacing the old one. david, would you kick us off on that? you have been watching california. earlier, he said it was like watching paint dry to see the commission out work. share that with us. >> last tuesday we had as some of you know a special election in california, 36 districts replacing harman. the winner was janice hahn and she won that election tuesday
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night. on wednesday, the commission put out a visualization of a hypothetical district gave respective district that would shut -- throw janice hahn into a district with henry waxman so welcome to congress on tuesday. now run against henry waxman on thursday. >> welcome to california. [laughter] >> watching california commission has been, has been really really amazing for someone who focuses on insider congressional baseball. if only because of this really brave new world. it is the largest laboratory of reform in the country and redistricting right now, and redistricting california's like trying to partition a melting pot. you have given her hats the most complex redistricting job in america to a group of people who were selected in part by --
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sending in their resume. and the result has been a 14 member citizen commission that is earned plenty of criticism from the outside for, for example, picking a mapping firm that republicans argued had ties before two democratic perspectives. but i give the commission and watching their meetings even if it is like watching paint dry, higher marks than most people would have guessed they would give them early on in the process because watching them work together as a group of 14 and very tedious, tedious meetings to come up with new maps is impressive in terms of the tone and collaboration since we have other commissions across the country. we have seven congressional redistricting commissions but this is really the only one out of the seven that doesn't have some political component in the
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process watching over their shoulder for appointing the commissioners, and they really are accountable to no partisan overboard in this process. so in part, their cooperation i think it's very very refreshing and succeeded and untangling california's very uncompetitive line and generating even five or 10 congressional -- if there are 53 scared incumbents at the end of the day. i think california could be held up as a model of reform to speak nothing of potential political sway in democrats or republicans favor as a result. norm said earlier that the things that corporation may be un-american, given the climate in washington these days, but i think it will be a very useful example of how putting the power to redistrict into the hands of people who are closer to the
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average -- being average citizens could really have beneficial effects for both the competitiveness of congressional elections and putting the power back in the hands of the people instead of the other way round. >> michael, what do you think of the criteria you see in california? that is, politically blinded many respects. they don't know where the incumbent resides. presumably you can't use past electoral data or party registration data. some have argued, well that is the way to go. ignorance is bliss and you know if you don't take politics into account that won't distort the process. others say that to achieve political fairness, you need to take politics into account. >> right. i am an academic so i can argue with myself. [laughter] i will take the argument against the commission just for a second
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so we can have that voice here. what this commission is and what david has set up by his example of at the very beginning is that it is term limits by another name. so you are just going to shake it up quite a bit and you are going to see where the seeds fall and if you are lucky enough at the end of the music to be able to have -- great. you get to serve another term in office. if not, that is your exit. there are people who say if you really want to have term limits you should have term limits rather than do it through redistricting and i also say that these legislators, these members, they are the people who best know their districts. so they are the ones who are best capable of drawing a district that will reflect the interest of the communities for their districts.
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now, again i'm an academic and i can argue with myself. the counter would say to that is if we can just get one good set of districts that follows some good criteria, then we aren't going to have this problem again because if you are following political boundaries and respecting communities and doing other things that is going to be the baseline 10 years from now where the incumbents are going to want districts to be drawn. so if we could just get over this once of putting in place good criteria, then i think in the future there will be much less politics involved in this because it will just be sort of a mechanical process and many countries around the world do this. they are just following this criteria. the criteria themselves, i'm morgan advocate as too partisan fairness being one of your goals. you want to have that explicitly in your criteria and you shouldn't just lined lycée if i am following county boundaries or other communities or drawing
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compact districts that somehow magically fairness or competition is going to emerge from that. that may not happen. in fact there is probably good evidence to suggest that if you follow these neutral criteria you will get a slightly republican gerrymandering in those states because of the fact that democrats are inefficiently concentrated into urban areas. but still i think if you look at the case of florida what is likely going to happen if you do get a plan that is respecting the state constitutional requirements that voters adopted in 2010 -- at the way they had to get 60% majority. the legislature actually change the bar where they are trying to avoid having this -- these initiative paths and they still got over that magic 60 instead of 50% so they have been put into effect in a republican year. the voters of florida want to have limits on what those
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republican legislatures in florida can do. so it is a really great experiment there to see if those limits can be enforced and if they can be meaningful. the one thing that we would say why we might have some expect nations to lease for the state legislative redistricting that they be enforced as the state supreme court in florida has this automatic review of the legislative plans. there is no government veto. the state to -- supreme court review so they can look at the will of the voters and that supreme court can make a judgment as to whether or not the state legislature did uphold the standards of the voters. >> interesting. anita would you pick up on the florida case? this has been interesting. is one of those cases where i believe to african-american members of the house really were opposed to this change and it
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reminded one of a coalition in the past of minorities and certain republicans resisting, creating some safe majority minority districts but in the process costing democrats overall some districts. how would that play out on there? >> while there is litigation, and. >> that is the american way. >> it is an example of sometimes this quest for competition coming in conflict with the quest to fairly reflect and empower minority voters but i would also lay some of this on the lap of the supreme court. not so much because of their one person one vote jurisprudence but because of their failure to implement some meaningful standards on partisan gerrymandering, which that is maybe one of the big difference is at least in the last redistricting.
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there was still a sense that maybe if we went too far extreme on partisan gerrymandering at court would rain is back in but now the courts and ability to reach agreement on what a standard should be and that it should be ample mended i think has just left line draws whether there commissioners or legislators open field to do whatever they want to and, but what i would say about florida is that while i think that instincts about saying they should there should not be partisan driven, i think that voters around the country will generally agree that there should be fairness to everyone and that kind of encapsulates the general sense that people have about what our democracy should embody. i think they kind of one about at the wrong way. i think saying you have to be blind to the date out there doesn't help and i think they need to be much more specific about how -- what measure do you use. there are i think the example of
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the one person one vote jurisprudence is helpful because yes getting down to one person is kind of meaningless but it is a standard and it is clear. it is a bright line. you can follow it and you can approximate fairness. i think in the partisan gerrymandering arena we need to do the same thing. we are not going to find a perfect measure with the balance should be or what data we should use but we should have a standard that is clear and implementable and use that to constrain what is happening. and i will say what i see and many of the voting rights act is being used to try to reign in partisan gerrymandering and that is not its purpose and it is not working very well. >> alright, you know one of the difficulties of reform state i stayed is that you may get change in some states that
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reduce the amount of artisan gerrymandering, but is -- its natural net effects may be to work against the other party. or the party itself. it made it exceedingly difficult to approach all of this with sort of good government perspective state-by-state, because the fact is this serious ideological policy partisan interest that are shaped by all of this. david, do you agree with that? >> well, i think what we need -- what anita said about the voting rights act being used to justify reining in partisan gerrymandering, i think in many cases the voting rights act is actually used as justification for partisan gerrymandering. what we are seeing at least in
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the democratic party is that what we have seen for the past couple of decades for example between african-americans and democratic strategist who want to maximize the number of democratic leaning seats not necessarily the african-american majority seats and i think that is a really fascinating part of the equation here. we have already seen in missouri i think a perfect example of this, where republicans needed a couple last remaining votes from democratic state legislators in the statehouse to pass the republican redistricting plan to eliminate a suburban st. louis democrat russ carnahan. and the chairman of the congressional black caucus daniel cleaver, leaned on a couple of african-american state representatives from his house district to vote for the republican plan so that he could get a better district on the other end of the state and so there has been conflict between
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democratic strategists in washington and african-american lawmakers and i think that is particularly going to play out in florida. so when you you have these instances of reform, it is not always clear-cut. i think in florida democrats would love to unpack korean brown's district that extends from jacksonville to orlando in put three democratic districts in their place. that divide in the democratic party a think makes it easier for republicans to kind of capitalize on that and get their way in court. >> it is an interesting dynamic that actually, and i saw in a similar vein when we were doing committee reform in congress. you take away any piece of any jurisdiction from a committee or subcommittee chair and it is like ripping the child out of their arms and it will absolutely fight to the death. parties face this problem all the time, that you can take a
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district that is extraordinarily safe and make it not quite as extraordinarily safe and that representative will do vengeance to the party schools to keep it that way. i mean the missouri example is a good one because it is not as if emanuel cleaver was in trouble. this was somebody who was going to coast to a victory under even the threat of an enormous political storm but he was willing to throw a colleague over the side just to make it even safer. so it makes this even more of an interesting dynamic for the wonks in the process because you can't say it party is going to take the reins of power in the state and always be able to do what they want. it is always a balance. you trying create a few more competitive districts and you may put some of your own in jeopardy. we also know even when you get an extreme partisan
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gerrymandering as we had in pennsylvania larger political ties can overwhelm that. you get an election. republicans may very well in many cases be able to add one or 2.2 an advantage in these median districts that if it turns out that they have overreached badly on medicare or on the threats to shut down the government and you get an enormous public backlash, that may mean that embers lose by three points instead of by what otherwise would have been five or six points. so we just need to have a little bit of humility when we try to project ahead in terms of all of this. >> on the one hand it is stronger party voting makes it easier to draw sort of partisan districts but it also makes them potentially more vulnerable because you get wide swings that are based largely on reactions to the political parties nationally and you get a lot more turnover. as you were talking about the
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missouri case i was thinking just the opposite experience in virginia where bobby scott said hey, take a way from my minority constituents. i don't have to have this high percentage. he is saying you could create a second minority district with maybe 40% african-american constituents, so it works na brady of ways. before we turn to questions for the audience, i wonder if we could have a little discussion about texas. texas plays an important role in our hearts going back over time and in history and in gerrymandering. what i i gather that plan drawn up by the republicans in this case worked very much against the interest of the new hispanic
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population. would someone be willing to sort of way that out? have you looked at that? you are probably very much involved in the case is. >> it is absolutely true that maldef introduced in the legislative process maps that would give them i believe an additional two congressional seats than the inactive map and they have certainly filed suit saying under section 2 of the voting rights act it was a violation of that out not to draw those districts. there are also introduced i believe in the record maps that would add another district that would elect the candidate choice of lack voters in the fort worth area. it would not be majority black but it would be a combination of black and latino voters that would elect the candidates. so that is kind of what is at stake in the litigation of the voting rights act. but there are other types of legal claims being filed in
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texas as well. >> david, how did they do it? that is, what are those -- what do those maps look like, whereby some republican gains were realized and a potential latino district was not created. where is the action? >> well, i could play weatherman all day with a map if we had it, but you might be better off asking an abstract artist to decipher what the texas draft looks like on the republican side. .. voters. i think particularly in a
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significance for voting rights act cases in the dallas-fort worth area of texas where impossible to draw close to a 70% hispanic district in dallas-fort worth. and that community has been split seven different ways under the republican postal. that is very clearly to elect republicans in suburban dallas-fort worth and denied democrats a seat in that central urban area. you can also make the case that you could draw additional latino majority seats in houston although there is some dispute t over whetherwo the two houstonn results would be over a citizen voting age population latino a y district in south texas without splitting austin and travis county six different ways as has been done in the
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republican proposal. so it's exactly the map that we thought republicans might draw with one exception. which is that i did think they were going to draw latino majority district in dallas-ft. worth not only to meet vra and avoid a lawsuit but also to shore up a lot of their members by pushing them farther out into the suburbs. instead republicans in texas have gone one step further. i think that opens them up to a suit that could dismantle at least part of the map, if not all of it. >> yeah. michael, one last question to you. which is, do you expect many plans at the congressional level to be ultimately written by judges? and if so, is there an opening for the public mapping kind of activities to have some influence at
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that stage? >> well, courts actually prefer not to get involved in the redistricting process. so their first instinct when there's a constitutional defect with a particular redistricting plan is to have the legislature or whatever the redirecting authority be a commission or something else, have them try again. they will direct them to say, here we've identified these errors. you have a chance now to rectify those errors. where you could however, have, a map that is drawn by a court or a court, take ideas from the public, isn't this sort of voting rights issues. those will probably most likely be put back to the legislature to fix, if there are any issues that are discovered. it would be in states like a virginia or a new york where you have a divided state government and you can't get a legislative plan passed, a congressional plan passed.
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so there the courts actually have to step in because there's no, you can't delay redistricting although we did learn in mississippi it is possible to do that but generally the courts don't allow a redistricting to go by, an election to go by without a redistricting. so in some states i think there's an opportunity where there is divided state governments such ascribed to do this i do want to comment though on something that david mentioned which is in the dallas area they fragmented the latino community. they, the republicans in order to gain some additional representation. it is a short-term strategy i think for them in some cases because the latino populations, if you look at the census data that is our growing population in texas. and so you may be able to eke a map out one or two election cycles that would be favorable to republicans in some of these districts but, if you look at the
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these populations and project out what's going to be happening ten years from now, i don't expect texas to get turn to a blue state but some these districts are going to turn blue. so it's a short-term strategy. i don't think it is one that can stand up through the entire decade. which is exactly kind of surprising to me. usually you want to draw districts that will be solid throughout the entire decade that way you can maintain your majorities over a longer period of time. here it seems like it is just a short-term gain sacrificed for long term. >> just -- >> norm, yeah. >> in terms of the courts, my hope is that, one of the reasons that the courts are reluctant to get involved with this, they have no expertise. and if you ask a court, draw a plan, they're going to have to find somebody to do it. if as we are now seeing the public mapping project is
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getting a raft of reasonable plans that actually meet all the criteria and can do it in a powerful way and they can pull a plan right off the shelf, and that's the case in virginia for example. so if you do end up where a court has to make a decision, it will make it easier for them. and not just easier but it will be a better plan. >> well, now it's your turn. we had mics. we would like you to identify yourselves and to ask a question that is shorter than the answer will be. so let's start all the way in the back. yes? >> my name is jeff white. i am a fourth decade redistricting recidivist. pleased to be at the wonk fest. my question goes to litigation, where this whole process is going down the road, later in the decade,
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in the courts. several states who have section 5 voting rights act preclearance have filed for preclearance in both federal court and in the justice department. there's been a notion among several republican attorneys general that the obama administration will play politics with redistricting. of course unlike of any of the previous republican administrations. and i think the voting rights act will probably, coming out of texas or florida be the key issues over the next several years in litigations. i guess a question for anita or any others on the politicization of redistricting or whether courts or doj are better or worse. or strategic advantage? >> well, just to throw a little more uncertainty into the mix, the fact we have challenges to constitutionality of section 5 pending in the d.c. courts
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on the way to the supreme court and what does that mean if in two years the supreme court finds that section 5 is unconstitutional? what does that mean if any objections have been issued? there is a lot of uncertainty around the voting rights act. full disclosure. i was a attorney general for civil rights, deputy assistant attorney general in a prior administration. i did preclearance work. what i will say is that from a public point of view, if you go to the d.c. district court, it makes it harder for individual people who want to comment on the plan to have a role because the justice department process at least allows for pretty easy public comment whereas if it goes to court you have to intervene. you know, have legal representation. it becomes a very different process. i think that this so many other different things about the way the process proceeds, whether it is in federal court or doj that, you know, my point of view is just that we continue to advocate for what we think the law
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says and we'll advocate in whatever forum or jurisdiction we need to but there are some important differences. >> michael? >> in virginia i served as a consultant to the governor's independent, bipartisan advisory redistricting commission or the ibarc. and i was actually questioned by doj about the redistricting, the state legislative plans. now understand in virginia we have a divided state legislature. there was a bipartisan san log roll where the state senate drew their districts, the statehouse drew their districts. they scratched each other's back and forwarded onto the governor who vetoed one. they made minor revisions and sent that off to the to doj with the governor's approval. we had two redistricting plans. one from the republican state legislature and the statehouse and democratic-controlled state senate. when doj asked me about the redistricting plans, their
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questions were primarily about the democratic plan. they were fine with the republican plan. and there were opportunities i believe because in the course of my work for the governor's commission i drew an additional minority district that the legislature did not adopt and so in the statehouse there was actually an opportunity there. there was some language in the voting rights act which may even provide an opportunity for the department of justice to, that to require the state to draw that additional district. they did not do that. instead they looked at three districts that the democrats had drawn down in voting age population. they were concerned as to whether or not those districts were going to continue to be effective to elect african-american candidates of choice in those districts. that's exactly what they need to do with the voting rights act. that is exactly what's required under section 5. that's what they looked at and they answered that question. so given that there was this
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opportunity to play politics with redistricting, the department of justice here had an opportunity. they correctly applied, in my vision or my view the section 5 requirements and ultimately determined that the state senate plan was acceptable. so there yet again, a democratic plan was the subject of scrutiny and not the republican plan. and yet they still at the end of the day accepted both plans. >> my perspective from a political standpoint, my question was always, where would the justice department pick its battles? and i think we know that a little bit of the answer so far. that it doesn't mean a raft of new african-american districts in the south. i think the battle ahead is really texas and perhaps california and florida. >> yeah? >> i'll add one other thing. >> yeah. >> the department of justice can file litigation under section 2 of the voting rights act.
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so if we're going to see politics played with redistricting somehow that may be really the vehicle where we see on the department of justice become active in filing or supporting some of this litigation on going in some of these states. but doesn't appear to me that section 5 will be their vehicle. >> next question receipt here. >> john forte, bipartisan policy center a question about california for, question about competition between different values. first if somebody would weigh in a little bit upon conflict between latino voters and emerging asian voters as well. both of them looking for greater representation. having some conflicts on the commission. but secondly some criticism of the commission for having at least a couple criteria. one to make more competitive districts and one to represent communities of interest. are those two, certainly they're in conflict to some extent but is the commission given enough guidance how to resolve those conflicts? clearly the commission will make much more competitive
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lines than the last very uncompetitive map drawn under another process but might it have been more competitive? what's the way the commission makes those sort of decisions how best to represent communities of interest, how best to represent competition? >> competition is actually not a requirement of the california constitution. so what is thought will happen is that the instead of trying to divvy up these communities in such a way as to work against competition drawing just sort of on a base value neutral sort of criteria, you're going to see more competition emerge from that and david can probably back me up on this that is what we expect to see out of it. so it is sort of like competition emerging from some of the criteria not actually imposing competition as a requirement. however there are, arizona does that and washington actually, there are two states that have a requirement to create competitive districts. so if you want to, and there are some states that do this, you can explicitly put this
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into the state constitution. i could talk about arizona. about that. >> john, i think that's a fantastic question. it gets to the heart of what is facing the commission these days. i think there is their most difficult job in the last month they have before they have to pass lines. how do you address competing minority interests when, for example, if it's only possible to draw very, very heavily black or latino districts, and in certain areas of the state, that are right next to each other, what do you do to maximize each ethnic or racial group's representation? and what we saw is the first draft come out. i think they were pretty regularized lines. i thought that it was a pretty good map that created three very heavily latino seats in central l.a. and two pretty heavily black seats in terms of voting eligible population. and when african-american
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advocates saw that it was reducing the effective number possibly of african-american represented seats from 3-to-2, they pushed to spread that even thinner. but as latinos are growing as a larger share of the population, under regular, compact lines, they are ought to be receiving a higher share of minority-majority seats. so i thought that map was fair. and coming under the pressure of ethnic and racial interest groups i think has caused the commission, if anything to take a step backwards since their initial first draft of the map. but what we're seeing is that the goal of creating very compact, understandable lines is really at odds with the goal of some interest groups of maximizing minority representation and that's the thorniest issue for the commission to handle in the final month. >> yes, right here. >> hi. my name is claire.
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i'm a student at the university of wisconsin. and i was just wondering i'm not really an expert on this whole topic. sorry if this sounds like an amateur question. you said the courts have no expertise on this issue really. i'm wondering what could make it better? more public input into drawing these lines? how could we, sounds like there is lot of problem. how could we improve them instead of taking them to the courts? >> go to public mapping in other words? we'll issue a wisconsin version of the software this week. >> yeah. >> so you can draw your own districts. >> draw your own lines. >> if i can just add, another process we've been working on in a number of states is to make the technology available to interest community groups and have members of the public come and actually draw the maps themselves as a group. and so, when we did this in the state of north carolina we did it several different days. people came from different parts of the state.
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people in the western part of the state know their neighborhoods and their areas and know what they would like to see represented in the map. people in the eastern part of the state, they know their area. when they came together they did a couple of things. they understood the tradeoffs because there are always tradeoffs in terms of meeting the redistricting criteria and what interests you can recognize but they also were kind of able, they could learn what was possible. so i think a lot of the critiques of redistricting are based not really understanding what's possible. if you don't know what the geography and the data allows, you really can't have an effective role in the process or really understand whether a map is good or bad. we actually got people involved by doing more than coming to a public hearing or sit sitting at a computer by themselves but getting involved in the community. >> anita makes a very good point. states and commissions and their state legislatures, their version of public participation is hold a hearing and have people come
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to the hearing. and they haven't really engaged with their constituents to find out what do they think their communities are? and, it is something that emerged when, in the meetings that we did with virginia's independent commission to see, people start coming out and describing their communitis. we could do a lot more. we really could. i mean the technology is there. the opportunities are there. we need to rethink how we are engaging our public and have that discussion about what the communities are well in advance of redirecting. not do right, once we get the census data and we can have that discussion. that's too late. because you really can't have a full discussion about what people feel their communities are and how their representational needs can be met. so i would hope again as we think about this how we can do this ten years from now one of the things, just a
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very modest proposal would be, can we get better discussion about how to best serve the representational needs of communities within a given jurisdiction or state or what have you well in advance of redistricting instead of waiting to the last minute. >> david, if i could ask you, the wisconsin case is an interesting one. you mentioned paul ryan's seat. we've got these recall elections that could turn the state senate over to the democrats. what would that do to the wisconsin plan or maybe even to paul ryan's district? >> well, this is all about timing and republicans want to complete congressional redistricting by the time there is any potential for turnover. and so in wisconsin could we see that map overturned? well, it is very hard for democrats to make the case that they can do anything bit of a it were to pass. they don't have the governorship. and i think it would be, always very, very difficult to undo something once it is
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done if only because the public only has so much appetite for dealing with redistricting. once they see the matter is resolved it is time to move on. >> we have three weeks until these special recall elections. >> right. >> i was going to say illinois. we've already seen them leave the state once. if they can wait it out a couple weeks then they can get a different outcome. what is actually going on, another very interesting thing that is going on in wisconsin is that traditionally what happens in wisconsin and this is by state statute, all the local governments draw their wards first, like pre-sent bound dries essentially. they do that redistricting first. then the state draws its legislative and congressional districts out of those wards. well they have completely upended that process this time around. accompanying these bills are redistricting plans are bills that change that whole
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process to that the state gets to move first and then the localities get to draw their precincts and wards after the state moves. so there's a lot of opportunities there i think for maybe litigation or some other people leaving the state. we may yet see that the. >> it is breath taking to, contemplate the political control of a process that nowhere else is it so controlled. yes, right here, please. >> good morning. my name is carlotta fellows. we established a political pac in maryland based on, the growing population, specifically of minorities from. maryland is currently 45% minority. about 30% african-american. but i wanted to ask a question specifically to latinos. because one of the questions or some of the concerns we're having right now withdrawing of maps is that you jipg gels test.
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and can you speak specifically to that specifically among immigrants in the state of maryland which is again like many states is the largest growing minority? >> well i think that the supreme court has recently elaborated under section 2 of the voting rights act you have to have 50%, in order to make a claim on behalf of single minority group you have to show 50% or greater in a single district looking at voting age population. some circuits said it has to be citizen voting age population. there are huge questions around the reliability of citizen voting age data because it's not in the pl -- it is not in the redistricting data set. so there are questions that arise around, what data are you looking at to decide whether you can draw a district. then beyond that there's questions about can you justify a district if you're combining two minority groups and are they politically cohesive?
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so what is the history of politics in the jurisdiction and have latino citizens who are voting, are they politically cohesive with other minority groups so you could form a coalition district or are they not? there is a lot of actually very fascinating issues. >> question all the way in the back there. yes. >> nancy beckett from science engineers for america. i wanted to, raise one point and ask a question. one of the problems in the mine north districts where the california group, many of the urban areas you have dissimilar minority groups. for example, koreatown in los angeles is very, is part of the two african-american congressional districts. and they are, you had asked a question about asian groups. they are very dissatisfied
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about that. that's, that is a rising group that will be very difficult. the other thing is, you are all assuming contra the practice of texas, that these districts boundaries last for ten years. what makes you think, notwithstanding various indictments, that anybody is going to let these congressional districts go for five years if they begin to experience what you were suggesting in terms of movement, substantial population movements? >> well, there are a number of states that actually have prohibitions on re-redistricting. texas is not one of them. in the supreme court said there is no federal requirement for only redistricting once a decade. it is up to states to make that determination. and so there are opportunities in some states for re-redistricting and it wasn't just texas that did it over the last decade. georgia did it. new hampshire did it. south carolina did it.
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so i expect we will see some states do a re-redistricting over this next decade. especially if we do see a very significant swipes like we just saw. so if democrats take control of the state legislature, i wouldn't be surprised if we saw a democratic plan come in and replace a republican plan. if the republicans can take control of the state senate in virginia, i wouldn't be surprised if we saw a, instead of a court-ordered plan which would be in effect for 2012, to see a republican plan put in place for 2014. there are some opportunities i think to see re-redistricting across the country. i think probably the biggest prize will be new york if the democrats can take control of the new york state senate and, i think there's a very good shot they will after this redistricting, that we could see a re-redistricting in the congressional directs in new york. >> is that good or bad?
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>> well i think should do it once but good districts in place to begin with. then you don't have to go back and do it again. >> but it's consistent with the the view in washington too. you take control of a chamber of the house. you repeal laws and you don't allow, laws to be implemented in a certain way. our politics is so intensely partisan now that it affects laws that have been passed. it affects redistricting plans, almost everything. that was my editorial. next question. >> thanks. i'm garrett mitchell. i write the "mitchell report" and this question really comes right off tom's last observation and goes to something that both norm and tom spoke to earlier. and let me try to phrase it
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this way. seems to me you've turned on its head the sort of conventional wisdom which is that redistricting drives polarization, suggesting that in fact it may be the other way around. our intense polarization is driving the redistricting process. and if that's the case, my question is, what kinds of results might we expect from sort of a more citizen-driven or commissio commission-driven ie, less partisan-driven redistricting process? are we going to get the results that we wanted in the first place? if polarization drives redistricting and we put more redistricting in the hands of the people who aren't polarized, what, what
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are realistic expectations in that regard? and along with that, if the thesis of the big sort, bill bishop's book, and maybe you can talk about the eyes rolling when you do that. if the thesis is that we are, we are redistricting with our feet, then it's about our migration patterns itself, again, how does the sit separate-driven commission-driven less politically polarized process get us the results that we're after? >> okay. eye roller, you first. >> let me take on the big sort lie first. there is really wonderful website that steve, one of the su cuny schools put together which shows changes between 2000 and 2010 looking at census block
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level. they have got a number of different municipalities across the country where you can visually see rolling a mouse over your web browser to see how the population haves changed. we are unsorting ourselves right now over this last decade. we're becoming more mixed up in terms of our race. you can see that happening in suburban areas across the country. even ex-urban areas. it complicates some of the voting rights issues because some these african-american voting rights districts are in urban areas, urban cores. they have lost population. the population has moved out and become intermingled in is a bush and and exurban why latino populations increased substantially you're not
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seeing come miss rat representation. they're not intermixed. they're not going into some sort of barrio and living within some sort of enclave within areas. they're spreading out. these minority communities are spreading out within, intermixing with white communities. asian communities. african-american communities. we're becoming more mixed. >> what about political mixing? >> a lot of this is going on the big sort is based on county-level data. this is going on in very densely sure ban areas where most of the populations live. if you look at counties yeah, north dakota, has 100 people in some of the counties yeah they become more republican. what you need to look at are densely urban or suburban area where most of the population of the country lives. it is a handful of but the larger overall
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theme politically, those racially mixed communities maybe getting more of a melting pot but those are a the 20 communities. then number of marginal preissing said the country iswe declining as we put ourselves with like-minded communities s politically and said our selection made it much easier to draw the lines that are 80% or 24 the m other side and as a result we have yourar marginalti districts. if you look at partisanship have never had before the. >> you can draw the district's they look compact but the notion it is impossible to draw the district's is blatantly false. look at those the people are drawing through public hatping.cng. the other is my home county
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of fairfaxas county has over 1 million is, people, this city is one of the eighthry. largest in the country. if you look at that county, it is thend battleground in this slightly blue then went to read in the governor's election. it is aing competitive county view were just trying districts respecting those boundaries you would be drawing districts that would be competitive. >> i would argue it doesn't make it impossible but overall what we have seen over the last 10 years makes it harder. 7th outwardly that was of block wide.
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>> they made negative three points moreeir democratic.ha >> butve that to is what they could undue after finding other boundaries that inlo other politicalne leaders. >> this change alone was worth the price of admission by it is there a reasonableoun expectation with the redistricting process of the florida away in transparency in public map making is there ax way to encounter the
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extreme legislatures? >> the top two clauses that and maybe you will touch on. this but now we have a commission and that is blind , they will both jobs fiber 10 districts that are competitive if they'd done this in 1990 it could be 20 or 25 maybe now five or 10 is an improvement. >> to talk about the larger plaintiff we think it didn't make a difference we would spend our time but there is no panacea. the fact is that arlen specter duralast to the party he had been in most of his life not did a congressional district in a b state that could not
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possibly win renomination. aba been net would lose his seat because of a nominating di process that had nothing to do with drawing of district lines. of fact people now look at partisan media and listen to it and hear it to develop a sense of the world due to directlyoup counter what, another group have and counter to the facts to complicate matters in a way of ma redistricting of the lines. but the polarization has many factors attached. there maybe other magic bullets we could try but i do think the california experiment tonight we only have one experience that was just decided big california dut it may alter is a
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dynamic of the nominating process. i would like to seedr mandatory attendance at the polls but both parties turnout and you could focus on those that are in theus middle. o this is no panacea. >> we will have one last question. >> underlying this entire conversation is the problem with redistricting wonder ifla that is minorityrg ago or through partisanship but on a more fundamental level whether it is different systems whether it is proportional representation or the at large districts with proportional voting system that may eliminate the line drawing that leads es of today.msmina
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>> it would. but there are structural changes in the electoral system and what they could make from st. pr to other districts and a variety of changes. in compensatory systems those that take the pressure off. so yes, in theory it is possible. and there could tolerate that kind of day electoral system but we have a lot in place those that are the media barrier but i say the more talk about the broader structurallt alternatives, there is the broade informed to discussionmad
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it will be. >> even with the gerrymandering, it still existed just has less of an impact on the elections in those countries. one potential solution but not a magic bullet. >> i may say that it is to potentially solve this issuebec in the meadow of the african-american area to decouples the residence from representation and potentially means there is more of the multiplicity of 2.hof at the table that helps with the polarization of politics. >> those that have pr systems tended to be morest polarized even though that
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is what we call them, the real th parties that have members with theirhe parliaments the. >> even today the single member representative democracies are laughing at this for this very discussion. >> and the. even among that family of the democracies of single member districts, they think the way in which we draw our lines is absolutely crazy. >> maybe that is the proper note on which to end. [applause] thank you for coming. [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]ns [inaudible conversations]
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>> tonight, scott land yard in turmoil another resignation and it is the biggest casualty of the phone hacking scandal and john e.
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yates quit some more and saying you're then sorrows. >> the inaccurate and elah formed malicious stories published about me personally. >> host: another story sean hoare is found dead and david kaman cut his trip is short to africa. >> i am determined to get to the bottom of this. >> host: now he who look at the damage she is suffering then we will talk about the committee hearing with rupert murdoch to moral. the united states cannot the said it would stop killing pakistani civilians with their drums but we have evidence that says it is wrong. >> host: good evening is britain's biggest and most police force incompetent or corrupt or both?
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public confidence in the police is rocking after two high-profile resignations and he admits he took some day o working for the mad at the same time reporters if they were only on unthinking terms of made other officers deeply uncomfortable but the. but always it did tangs have lower it is about judgment
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and but here they're used to be regular meetings between news of the world journalist and stephen sin and john yates to discuss the stories of nine told the relationship was incredibly close. >> of former commissioner met with the executive 18 times in four years but tonight it seems it was much closer than this. >> is there any element of the relationship between the police and the news of the world? that stop them from pursuing the hacking? >> the man in 2009 who decided not to open an after reviewing 11,000 pages of evidence commander pressure two mou resign in today was threatened with suspension
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so he jumped. >> we are truly accountable. those who take on the most difficult jobs clearly have to stand up and be counted when things go wrong. however when we get things wrong, we say so in as i have said very recently in is a matter of great personal regret to set things were not dealt with appropriately. sadly, there continues to be a huge demand of the inaccurate, ill informed in downright malicious gossip to being published about me personal eighth. you cannot have somebody in counterterrorism with that type of been added to prevent it is a very shame
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but he made mistakes and had to pay the price semis here is the man at the center former deputy of "news of the world" who was arrested last week. they paid him $1,000 per day for 24 days. he worked closely with us this -- system committee and -- committee also has emerged from stevenson a former commissioner of excepted douses it of three hospitality at the club and saying he is a family friend. that was not enough to save him. he resigned less than 24 hours ago. >> what with the commissioner be doing it excepting the high level incentive? ultimately the police but i
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think they're incredibly in the youth. lakisha's but any outside people to help with publicity when they have him, and almost begs relief you would need additional support too. >> a slew of new inquiries has followed in whether the media has done to influences it the police and there would be accompli this commission but with commissioner john yates in his review in 2009, he is alleged to secure employment from a friend thought it would be named -- but it i
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know how they turn on the investigation. >> turning on the area was inevitable. >> in both cases we have to recognize that when questions of the relationship between the men and the "news of the world" was likely to be distracting to those in the run-up of the big game. >> too sheets gone and two days and there is in turmoil. some say recently this is designed to break, in critics are angry about the christmas as it could not be vigorously enough. >> i am sure sayre are very
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honest how officers to the highest local that want to see it cleared out that they thought perhaps were but those are eager chain daily and tonight it confirms they were employed by the financial supporters say it is overplayed by their opponents. but revelation as like this that it is a all fetched. i enjoyed by the former mayor of london and formerly chief of staff to the current mayor and former president of the association of chief of police officers. this is pretty catastrophic?
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but now we're ever stiffs me may have made it eight? >> rate is if they a lot of the poll also the highest regard that budget to it just seems in a very toxic situation to deal with in that is the basic problem seven give them that it is toxic and don't know where it ends, is there any way for them to have full confidence tonight? >> there are 40,000 officer and the metro police and we're talking about a handful here. although the public knows the vast majority of officers are getting on with their job. when you look at the things better alleged and gossip,
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when they're seen in the proper and investigative way balanced against the time the raid and what was happening in the rest of the environment, that must have been extremely frustrating. >> menu with the mayor why didn't you see this coming? >> there was no evidence. but from a guardians from 20092 spin my people are going back. >> but it looks like many decades. that was never an issue. i would have bought a press conference every week and they said there is more than meets the eye. butts and 2007 the both guilty went to it at that
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this stage but had they didn't sell but there is nothing wrong with that prepare you must not have done it. >> you also spent 350,000 pounds of money on the pr company who is married to elizabeth murdock . >> we look to establish offices that we did not get in china. it is a simple fact you cannot get away from it. rupert murdoch phoned his papers which just before to make sure there were in nursing i am sure by 21 million pounds of
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investment from china is the first. >> how far? how far does this go? who was working for the news as a translator, scotland yard at the same time and so on. >> i don't know that this is something of what has been launched but what is clear is there was a culture in which it just wasn't a few bad apples doing bad things. of it was we would be left tory but now people who word good people thought it was normal to have lunch with a journalist and maybe take something to be wrong. >> and then it why when this came up? there was a degree of complacency.
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>> the whole political class i have underestimated this for a long time because frankly we are trying to win the approve real hotbed of editors and even proprietors and we are all at fault for pro he is not excluded nor the only one. >> do you worry there would be more resignations over the mass? these two at the top of the tree but they were feeding them information that turned out to be rubbish spam if their house of been a proper investigation. but those before anybody have the proper investment, here is a nonsense being spoken you are constantly in the media spotlight and a target for fleet street.
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it is absolutely duvall to so you have to involve yourself otherwise you go not to survive. because you have to be able to play the game and that is not giving an affirmation of making sure you are providing. >> maybe someone also the head of the prestigious police force in the country. if you have somebody who was working for you working for the organization, under investigation surely you smell a rat their? all these people who resigned and in none of them did the add two anything wrong.
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police officers have not done anything wrong. freeway to until the investigation is done we may know the answer. >> but the police do take action. but those on the street but there is a system in place to be investigated and factually decided. in this case the metropolitan authority should have come to a conclusion. the actual hysteria generated. >> we would have to resign the atmosphere.
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>> and her. >> even if we was laid before but it has been gone. >> there is nothing good about these people going. anyone but i have had dealings with this evening sun and he was of a wonderful man. anti-it that he could no longer command three good confidence and how you keep running in one of the most challenging years? >> i don't. this is for them to take on the role and you have a deputy commission there who is affected. i think the problem is these two people have to go.
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